The Cultivation of Dimensional Music

As a composer I understand the importance of multidimensional music expression. By the addition of the different aspects of sounds and tonal manipulation tools one can create something that has a dense significance to the whole of musical expression. Through history, we have seen such expressions change through the interpretations of music that is passed down from generation to generation. The interesting part is that the musical dimensions such as dynamics, bowing styles, phrasing, and note accents don’t solidly transfer from person to person. This has two implications: 1)Musicians have their own ingrained musical personalities that they superimpose on music they learn. We even find children placing their own musical ideals on music they are learning. 2)These dimensions aren’t directly taught when the transfers of music happen. What this implies is that that our focus is on the notes themselves when we first setting out to learn from a teacher. From a teacher’s standpoint this can present issues in teaching musical expression in future lessons. We find that through the cultivation of musical expression during the act of learning a new tonal sequence is optimal. If musical expression transference does happen when a teacher is teaching, the results are a perfect basis for a student to future develop their own musical expression. I find it interesting that music educators tend to teach musical expression separate from melody. I believe this divide comes from the misunderstanding that musical expression can only lend itself to those of higher caliber artistry. I would challenge this by saying that when you find a child playing on pots and pans in the kitchen, their technique isn’t perfect. They aren’t concerned with how they are holding the spoons. Their main concern is how it feels to hit something and produce a sound. At this juncture we find ourselves at a dilema to how we approach the idea of adding musical expression development in young artists during the learning of the original music. Simply, we would  subscribe to becoming conscience of the fact that each song taught to our students would also include multidimensional aspects. This, in turn will contribute to the all-around interest in music by the students. For I believe we have drifted from thinking as music as more than just melody, harmony, and rhythm. For I see teachers teaching their students singly the melody and moving on to the next tune. This is an abomination to the art of music, directly. Clarifying, I am not insinuating that one should spend a year teaching a single song. However, we should not neglect the options of the many dimensions that are possible with musical expression. When teaching we should understand that the musical expressional tools we install in our students are those for which will be primers of their musical future. Through the cultivation of musical expression in learners of the artform they are opened up to the dimensions of music. In this, we set the standard of musical development and progression.

In the 1959 release by Miles Davis titled “Kind of Blue” we find such dimentional aspects demonstrated during the listening of the track Freddie Freeloader. When listening through the first time you might not catch the simple additions of dynamic influxes, rhythmic subtleties, and note placement. However, as you listen you will find more and more slight modifications to each phrase as if the song is morphing under your ears. Through the listening of such masters at work, we find that one can literally take a previously composed melody and make slight alterations to the melody without touching the actual notes composed. This kind of musical manipulation is in the forefront of a seasoned and experience musician. Therefore, as communicators and  educators we should continue that focus through our instruction. For we can learn from this recording that there are multiple dimensions possible in a single song. But, we can’t instruct students that there are many aspects to a song during the teaching of the song? I believe this to be a faulty belief by instructors. For we should always be perusing the best in our pupils, guaranteeing the highest in music excellence and expression by presenting to our students every aspect we are aware of.


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